Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Shortbread Bars
You may have noticed that Fifteen Spatulas has been a bit devoid of desserts lately.
And I really have no explanation, except that I’ve somehow fallen out of love with dessert as a general category of food. It’s very bizarre, and my husband has many times questioned me in a “who are you and what did you do with the Joanne I knew” kind of way whenever I glance over a dessert menu at a restaurant and pass on dessert altogether.
I think the real explanation is that I’ve realized there are a lot of desserts not worth eating. I’ve been buckling down on controlling my weight and eating habits (down 3.5 lbs in a month, woohoo!) and eating dessert is a very quick way to use up your calories. If I’m going to eat a dessert, it has to be dang good, because I’m only going to allow myself a small piece of it. And if I lose my self control and eat a little more than I should, well, at least it was dang good and maybe slightly arguable that it was worth it.
Cheesecake will always fall in that ‘dang good’ category for me. Something about cheesecake just jives with my tastebuds.
I know this because whenever I make it, the spatula always gets licked. So do the beaters. Never waste cheesecake.
This cheesecake is one of those quick fix versions, because it doesn’t require baking in a water bath or anything. Basically just make a shortbread crust, then spread on a simple cheesecake filling, and swirl in strawberry jam.
Bake, and eat! Oh, and FYI, sometimes I like to press chocolate chips into the cheesecake before I pop it into my mouth. It’s good and tastes kind of like these cookie dough cheesecake bars that I also love!
More Cheesecake on Fifteen Spatulas:
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Yield: one 8x8 pan
For the shortbread crust:
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
10 oz flour (2 cups)
For the cheesecake:
16 oz cream cheese, softened (2 blocks)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp high quality strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Start with the shortbread crust. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter, confectioner's sugar, sea salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add the flour and mix until just combined. It will be crumbly, and that's fine. Press the shortbread crumbles into an 8x8 square baking pan with your fingertips. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a little bit golden brown, then let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the cheesecake by whipping together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer. Whip the ingredients until combined, but take care not to overmix. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the cooled shortbread crust. Add plops of strawberry jam and swirl it into the cheesecake filling. Bake the cheesecake for 25-30 minutes until the cheesecake has set. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, then refrigerate before serving. When ready to serve, cut into bars and enjoy!